Legislation update

Developments in hydrogen certification – July 2021 update

By Damian Roe and Elizabeth Harvey / 21 July 2021

This week, Queensland and Western Australia have both joined the Smart Energy Council’s Zero Carbon Certification Scheme.

A certification and guarantee of origin scheme is one of the key regulatory issues for developing Australia’s hydrogen economy. The purpose of a certification scheme is to identify how a given unit of hydrogen has been produced and its associated environmental impacts, particularly greenhouse gas emissions.

In this article, Senior Associate, Elizabeth Harvey and Partner, Damian Roe provide an update since our March alert on developments in hydrogen certification regimes. 

Queensland and Western Australia partner with Zero Carbon Certification Scheme

The Zero Carbon Certification Scheme is a voluntary, industry-led guarantee of origin scheme, to promote the uptake and distribution of renewable hydrogen products and their derivatives. You can find more detail about the Zero Carbon Certification Scheme in our March update

On 20 July 2021, Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen Mick de Brenni announced that Queensland would partner with the Zero Carbon Certification Scheme. 

The following day, Western Australia's Minister for Regional Development; Agriculture and Food; Hydrogen Industry, Alannah MacTiernan announced that WA would also sign on to the scheme. 

The scheme will not cover hydrogen made from fossil fuels with associated carbon capture and storage (CCS). This signals the focus of the Queensland and WA governments on  developing hydrogen products made by electrolysers powered only from renewable energy. 
Queensland and WA join the Victorian Government and ACT Government as founding partners in the scheme.

Consultation by Commonwealth Government on hydrogen guarantee of origin scheme 

Separate to the Zero Carbon Certification Scheme being developed by industry with particular State Governments, the Commonwealth Government has been working on the development of a hydrogen certification scheme, as part of Australia’s National Hydrogen Strategy

Last month, the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources released a discussion paper for consultation, with questions for stakeholders on the proposed design of an initial Australian guarantee of origin scheme. 

The Department has been working on behalf of the Australian Government as a member of the International Partnership for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells in the Economy’s (IPHE) Hydrogen Production Analysis Taskforce. The design approach taken by the Department is to set up an initial IPHE aligned domestic scheme, that transitions to an international scheme over time. 

In contrast to the renewable focus of the Zero Carbon Certification Scheme, and consistent with the Morrison Government’s technology-neutral approach to producing hydrogen, this discussion paper outlines methodologies for:

  • production of hydrogen from electrolysis;
  • production of hydrogen from coal gasification with CCS;
  • production of hydrogen from steam methane reforming with CSS; and 
  • options for verification of renewable electricity as an input. 

Consultation is open until 30 July 2021. More information is available here. Responses to the discussion paper will help to inform trials of the proposed methodologies on actual projects. 

For more information, please contact our Resources and Energy team.

Damian Roe
Damian is a Partner of our leading Resources, Energy and Projects practice.
Elizabeth Harvey
Senior Associate
Elizabeth is a Senior Associate in our Resources and Energy practice.

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